Ron is a trial lawyer and former federal prosecutor who concentrates his practice in civil and white collar litigation, as well as internal investigations. He is a fellow in the American College of Trial Lawyers and has been recognized as one of Michigan's top lawyers by Best Lawyers®, Super Lawyers®, Benchmark Litigation© and by Michigan Lawyers Weekly as a Leader in the Law. Ron is also chair of the firm's Litigation and Trial Services Practice Team.
Before joining the firm, Ron served as an Assistant United States Attorney in Miami for the Southern District of Florida, where he prosecuted and tried several large criminal cases. He was also the Deputy Chief of the Major Crimes Division in that office from 2000 - 2001. Since joining Varnum, Ron has tried cases in courts across the country, including New York, Washington, D.C., Florida, North Carolina, Michigan, Tennessee, Kentucky and Kansas. Ron has obtained multimillion dollar verdicts and settlements for plaintiff businesses, including one of the top ten verdicts in Michigan in 2008, as recognized by the Michigan Lawyers Weekly. He has also obtained a number of defense verdicts against plaintiffs claiming high damages.
Ron has extensive experience as an instructor of trial advocacy. He has taught at the preeminent trial advocacy program in the United States, the National Institute of Trial Advocacy, and at the National Advocacy Center, which is the trial practice school for the Department of Justice. Since 2006, he has taught at the Hillman Trial Advocacy Clinic, the trial advocacy program for the Western District of Michigan, and he led that program in 2012 and 2013. He is also a federal court approved mediator.
As a former federal prosecutor, Ron represents companies and officers in white collar criminal matters and governmental investigations, and he conducts internal investigations.
Currently member of the leadership team assembled by the Independent Monitor named by the U.S. Department of Justice to oversee General Motors’ compliance with its obligations under the Deferred Prosecution Agreement stemming from its recall of defective ignition switches.
Currently representing the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services in connection with investigations arising out of the Flint water crisis.
Represented financing company in a series of lawsuits against dealers and administrators of vehicle service contracts brought in the Federal District Court for the Northern District of Illinois and obtained a summary judgment in excess of $10 million and additional settlements exceeding $10 million.
Represented former owner of Dr. Pepper, Snapple and Squirt products in a series of income tax related suits against the United States Department of Justice, as well as related litigation, and in separate cases obtained a jury verdict in excess of $4 million, a bench verdict in excess of $3.5 million, and an $8.5 million settlement. The jury verdict was upheld by the 6th Circuit in a published opinion and was hailed by Forbes as one of the top ten tax cases of the year in 2014.
Conducted an internal investigation for and represented top 100 global automotive supplier in multiple grand jury investigations into criminal violations of the Clean Air Act. Obtained a declination of prosecution from two U.S. Attorney’s Offices and the Department of Justice.
Conducted an internal investigation and represented foreign auto supplier in Department of Justice Antitrust Division "Auto Parts" investigation, and also represented company in federal class actions brought by auto dealers and consumers.
Honors & Recognitions
American College of Trial Lawyers, fellow, 2017 - present
Benchmark Plaintiffs, Leading Commercial Litigation Plaintiffs Star in Michigan, 2012 - present
Best Lawyers in America®, Commercial Litigation, Litigation—Banking & Finance, 2011 - present
Best Lawyers in America®, Lawyer of the Year, Banking and Finance Litigation, 2013
Leading Lawyers: Commercial Litigation; Criminal Defense Law - White Collar
Michigan Lawyers Weekly, Leader in the Law Award, 2014
Michigan Super Lawyers®, 2010 - present
Special Commendations from the FBI, DEA, Secret Service, Customs, and the ATF
United States Department of Justice, Volunteer Service Award, 1999
American Bar Association
American Bar Foundation, fellow, 2010 - present
Federal Bar Association Western District of Michigan, president, 2014; Executive Committee, 2006 - 2016; officer, 2007 - 2016
Grand Rapids Bar Association
Michigan State Bar Foundation, fellow, 2008 - present
State Bar of Michigan
Camp Henry, Board of Directors, 2017 - present
Federal Pro Bono Committee, 2010 - present
Grace Christian Reformed Church, Council member, 2005 - 2008
Heartside Ministries, president, Board of Directors, 2003 - 2009
Hillman Advocacy Clinic held by the Federal Court for the Western District of Michigan: Executive Committee, 2006 - present; chair, 2011 - 2012; vice chair, 2009 - 2010
Land Conservancy of West Michigan, Board of Directors, 1992 - 1995
Log Cabin vocational training program for disabled, Board of Directors, 1998 - 2001
News & Publications
- September 10, 2018
- August 27, 2018
- September 18, 2017
- September 6, 2017
- August 16, 2017
- September 12, 2016
- August 26, 2016
- November 18, 2015
- August 20, 2015
- December 15, 2014
- August 27, 2014
- March 5, 2014
- January 31, 2014
- January 16, 2014
- October 28, 2013
- September 6, 2013
- August 15, 2013
- December 10, 2012
- November 12, 2012
- October 30, 2012
- September 24, 2012
- May 24, 2012
- November 30, 2011
- August 31, 2011
- August 23, 2011
- September 30, 2009
- January 27, 2009
University of Michigan Law School
Ann Arbor, Michigan
J.D., cum laude, 1990
Order of the Coif
Grand Rapids, Michigan
- All Michigan state courts
- United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
- United States Court of Federal Claims
- United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois (including Trial Bar)
- United States District Court for the Northern District of Indiana
- United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana
- United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan
- United States District Court for the Western District of Michigan
- United States District Court for the Northern District of New York
- United States Supreme Court
- United States Tax Court